Reading for Pleasure: Christmas 2020 Reading Adventures

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Coming to the end of this year, we are sure many of you have plans for a relaxing break. These past twelve months may also have left you in a reflective and inquiring mood. Whether you want to escape into a fictional world; or continue exploring ideas from your studies, we hope that this blog post will give you some inspiration.

Philosophy deals with the largest, most complex questions and problems facing humanity. Movies, television and culture explore stories based on these questions and give an opportunity for scholars to debate and discuss what the stories mean. They can also give rise to creative and exciting new worlds. Here at the library, several e-books in our collections have explored various queries and theories with reference to some of our greatest literary works:

Lord of the Rings and Philosophy by Gregory Bassham and Eric Bronson: A fantastic primer on Tolkien’s famous trilogy, bringing together international academics to debate whether or not superhuman power can be used for good, or do humans always become addicted and corrupt?

How to Live Forever: Science Fiction and Philosophy by Stephen Clarke broadens the questions that science fiction can explore. Sections here discuss technology and its ability to influence and assist humanity; and the world of medicine and its attendant concerns with immortality.

Photo by Ehud Neuhaus on Unsplash

A wealth of relevant fictional tales are available online from Aberdeen City Libraries using the ‘Borrow Box’ service. More information can be found here. Some examples of the items available include:

The Last Human by Lee Bacon: A story set in a dystopian world where humanity is (supposedly) extinct and Earth is run by machines. Everything seems perfect and in order without war, pollution, crime or poverty. What happens then, when a robot meets a 12-year old? Join XR-935 on this extremely unlikely friendship, and follow their poignant, funny adventure together as they work out what it really means to be human.

The Ghost Network: Activate by I.I Davidson: John, Slack, Akone and Salome are all passionate about computer coding, gaming and hacking; and are thrilled to be at ‘Wolf’s Den’, a specialist academy, with other technologically adept souls from around the world. Then they discover Project 31, a secret study run by the school’s leaders using the pupils themselves as guinea pigs, and two shocking facts: they are all legally dead, and John’s scientist father planted A.I inside him before mysteriously vanishing. In order to find answers and escape their enemies, the four of them must flee across the tundra.

Several of the themes here also work well in festive tales, where characters can build new lives and find new strengths. The following item is also available electronically from City Libraries:

The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher: A Victorian mystery where orphaned Seren has to work out what a mysterious package contains, with the help of the strange ‘Christmas Crow’, a supernatural being who will lead her to ‘Tom’. Who is he? Can Seren trust him? And why must she find him before the owner of the parcel finds her? A fascinating adventure story exploring themes of family and belonging.

Another philosophical book that you can find on Primo is inspired by Tolkien’s contemporary and friend C. S Lewis:

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Worldview by Gregory Bassham & Jerry Walls: A great primer based on Lewis’ fantastic tales of adventures, magic and coming of age. It also covers the adult topics of morality, gender, free will and the implications of our choices.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It could be paired with a number of modern day adventure stories that explore growing up, and the questions that come with facing difficult experiences and decisions. Examples of stories in this vein available from Aberdeen City libraries include:

The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman: Sally Lockhart must track down her father’s killer. She’s perfectly equipped to do it, having had an unconventional upbringing for a Victorian lady: being a brilliant accountant who can ride like a Cossack, shoot like a demon and speak fluent Hindustani. Following the trail of the titular jewel, the first in this series is a masterful adventure story that completely transports you to historic London, India and China.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket: This series follows the Baudelaire children as they navigate the world of their eccentric extended family, outwitting and defeating their malevolent Uncle Olaf at every turn. Witty, absurd and extremely memorable. (Please note that the first of this series is available in audiobook format here, and you must be logged into the City Libraries online catalogue for this link to work. More information on how to join them can be found later in this post.)

The Storm Leopards by Holly Webb: A magical tale of family bonds and discovering new passions. When Isabelle and her family visit their local zoo, she comes across a beautiful snow leopard, and is entranced. Determined to help them, she soon finds out about conservation efforts in Mongolia centred on a mother leopard and her cubs.

Photo by Andreea Radu on Unsplash

Before you go, here are a further few suggestions for festive reading:

The Lost Casebooks of Sherlock Holmes by Donald Thomas: The game is afoot! Join Holmes and Watson for sixteen tales of intellectual derring-do that see them contend with ‘supernatural curses’, find lost treasures, assist Winston Churchill at Sydney Street and foil a German invasion.

Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle: If Thomas has whetted your appetite Aberdeen City Libraries have the original mysteries available in print and online, including audiobooks read by Stephen Fry.

Access to e-resources

To find out more about the City Libraries, their collections and services, please do visit their website here. Membership of Aberdeen City Libraries is available to people who work, live or study in Aberdeen City or Shire. If you are not already a member, you can join online now and start using the online services immediately. Sign up for free here.

To access our e-books remember to sign in to Primo; then in the ‘View Online’ section in Primo click on the name of the provider (e.g. Ebook Central) to link to the full-text of an e-book. If the e-book provider presents you with a Shibboleth authentication screen, enter your University username and password again.

Our Christmas Vacation hours can be found here.

On behalf of all library staff here at the University, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. And happy reading!

Lucy Drysdale

Book sale at The Sir Duncan Rice Library- starts February 10

The Library Service will soon be holding a sale of books that have been withdrawn from library stock. These are books that are duplicates of items in our collection or donations that are not required.

The sale will be held on Floor 1 of The Sir Duncan Rice Library for one week, from Monday February 10 until Sunday February 16.

From Monday 10/2 to Wednesday 12/2 inclusive, the sale will only be available to University of Aberdeen students and staff. Please show your University ID card at purchase.

The sale will not start until 9 a.m. each day and 11 a.m. on Sunday, once staff begin work at the Information Centre on Floor 1 of The Sir Duncan Rice Library. You will not be able to purchase any books before the above times.

The cost of the books will be:

  • Hardback – 50 pence
  • Paperback – 25 pence
  • Cash till only – no cards.

There will be books available from across a whole range of subjects, and at those prices it is certainly worth coming and having a look to see what bargains you may be able to get.

Macmillan Bake Sale

cake5 cake 4 cake3

 

It’s almost time for the annual Bake Sale in support of Macmillan Cancer Support.  Last year we managed to raise a fantastic £628!

This year the sale will take place on Friday 27th September between 10am and 12 noon on the Ground Floor of The Sir Duncan Rice Library.

Please come along, grab your favourite beverage from the café, and show your support by purchasing some of the lovely home bakes on offer.

Macmillan logo

Welcome to the Library Service

SDRLatrium1

As the new academic year begins and the campuses fill with new and returning students, Library staff would like to wish everyone all the very best for the coming year at the University of Aberdeen.

Read on to learn (or remind yourself) of some of the ways in which the Library is here to help you.

Library Tours

Library tours

Following on from our already fully booked Library Tours, which will take place on September 2 and 3, we will be running additional short tours of The Sir Duncan Rice Library starting on Wednesday September 4 and running until Friday September 20 for all students, new and old.

Come and meet staff on the ground floor of the library at 10am or 2pm, there is no need to book. There will be no tours taking place at the weekends, but staff working then will still be happy to answer any questions you may have about the Library Service.

Speak with staff in the Taylor and Medical Libraries for help in finding your way round their collections and spaces.

Locating Library Resources

You can search Primo, to find out what materials the Library has on the shelves and online. Primo is the first place to begin any searching you may be doing for books, ebooks, journal articles or any of the other high-quality resources available to you. Also, be sure to check out our Primo Library Guide, as well as our short videos on using Primo

Getting help in our libraries 

Library staff are here to help you locate the materials you need or answer any questions you may have about our service.

Staff are available Monday-Friday, 09.00-17.00, in each of our three libraries to help in person. There is a reduced service at all three sites outwith these hours, but staff are still available to help.

For general enquiries within The Sir Duncan Rice Library about our services please speak with staff at the Information Centre on Floor 1.

For more subject-specific assistance in The Sir Duncan Rice Library you will find staff with knowledge of the collections on Floors 4-6. They will either be based at the clearly marked Information Points, or they will be available to help in the Enquiry Offices which are located right beside them. More details on staff help available here.

The Taylor Library and the Medical Library also have very knowledgeable staff happy to field any enquiries you may have about their collections. Please come and speak to them.

We are here to help you find the library materials you need throughout your time here at the University of Aberdeen and are ready and waiting for your questions. And don’t ever be embarrassed to ask us a question because you think it might be a silly question. There are no silly questions, only questions, and we love to hear them all.

Remember to visit our website, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook, as well as keep up to date with any Library news on this blog.

 

Ewan Grant, e.grant@abdn.ac.uk

Elaine Fitzgerald, e.fitzgerald@abdn.ac.uk

‘Did you know…?’ blog series coming soon!

did you know featured image wed nightWe are delighted to introduce a new service to help you find your way around the library and improve your library skills. Our new ‘Did you know…? A collection of helpful library hints’ blog series will be launched next week (14th of January). We will aim to deliver to you useful tips on:

  • Navigating your way around the library
  • Printing
  • Searching for information
  • Placing holds on items
  • Our opening times
  • Accessing resources off-campus

and much more!

We hope you will find this service useful.

Improvements coming – power being installed in more Silent Study Rooms during Easter break

During the Easter break we will be installing power and USB sockets into three Silent Study Rooms in the Sir Duncan Rice Library which currently have no such sockets. There will, therefore, be no access to the West Silent Study Rooms on floors 3, 4 and 5 between now and Friday April 13.

In the meantime, please feel free to use the other Silent Study Rooms still available on floors 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6. The rooms on floors 1 and 6 do not permit the use of any electrical devices within them.

Once the work is finished we’ll have 60 additional desks across 3 further silent study rooms to better support access to online materials. Especially useful for the upcoming exams.

Apologies for the noise and for any inconvenience caused while this useful work is carried out.

Exam revision in the Sir Duncan Rice Library – Silent Study Rooms

Exam time is almost upon us and we are aware that everyone has their own preferred methods to study. We aim to provide somewhere for everyone, whatever their choice, so once again we are changing the use of our Silent Study rooms in the Sir Duncan Rice Library during revision week and for the whole of the exam period.

Beginning on November 20 and running until December 15, electronic devices may be used in all of our Silent Study rooms on Floors 1, 3, 4 and 5. This temporary change is due to more people using the library at this time, and this adjustment is the best way to accommodate as many people as possible during this important point in the academic year.

However, silence still reigns in room 624 on Floor 6 where there will continue to be strictly silent study with no laptops, tablets or any other electronic devices allowed.

Good luck in your exams!

Come for a Tour of The Sir Duncan Rice Library – No booking required

Following on from our already fully-booked Library Tours, which will take place on September 4 and 5, we will be running open tours of The Sir Duncan Rice Library over the rest of that week and the following two weeks for all students, new and old. This is to make sure that as many people as possible get the chance to learn about the Library.

small library tours sign cropped

Starting on Wednesday September 6 and running until Friday September 22, come and meet staff on the ground floor of the library at 10am or 2pm. There is no need to book a place and each tour group will contain a maximum of ten people.

There will be more than one tour taking place at a time, lasting approximately 30 minutes. The tours by our friendly staff will introduce you to not only the beautiful building, but also the services available from the library. We will also tell you:

  • How materials are organised in the building
  • How to begin borrowing the library books on your reading lists
  • How library staff can help you during your time at The University of Aberdeen

Please note that there will be no tours taking place at the weekends, but staff working then will still be happy to answer any questions you may have about the Library Service.

Please speak with staff in the Taylor and Medical Libraries for help in finding your way round their collections and spaces.

We look forward to showing you around, and also take this opportunity to wish you all good luck with the year ahead.​​

Changes to Silent Study rooms during exams

It’s that time again when The Sir Duncan Rice Library is really busy. We know that everyone has their own favourite way to study, and for many of you this means using a laptop or tablet.

During this busy exam period, starting from revision week Monday 25th April electronic devices may be used in all except one of the Strictly Silent areas. If you prefer a “no electronic device” area then head for Room 624 on Floor 6 (south west corner of the building).

Some of you may remember our pilot run of using the silent study rooms for extra study space with electronic devices in December last year. It was very successful with a high amount of students using the rooms. We would like to offer this again for the busy exam period.

Please speak with library staff on the floors if there are any difficulties. Good luck with your exams…

Alison & Vivien (Subject & Enquiry team)

Do you need help finding books in The Sir Duncan Rice Library?

The Sir Duncan Rice Library has an enormous collection of books, with over 400,000 items on the shelves. Have you, though, checked Primo, the portal to all our resources, and not been sure where to go next to find the particular book you want on the shelves? Well, read on to learn how to locate the titles you want to read on our miles of shelving.

The Shelf Mark (sometimes called the Call Number) is the information you need from Primo to locate titles on the shelves and for any book this will be a number between 0 and 999, followed by 3 letters which are usually the first three letters of the author’s surname. The letters are included so that books on the same subject can then be arranged alphabetically.

Take this book for example: Introduction to logic by Irving M. Copi. It has the shelf mark, or call number, of 160 Cop, where 160 is the number for the subject of Logic and Cop is the first three letters of the author’s surname. Quite a simple system really.

The book sequence starts with 000 (computer science, knowledge and systems) on floor 7 and the numbers increase as you descend down the floors, with the last book shelved at 999 (history of miscellaneous countries) on floor 3. Here is a general indication of the shelf marks for each of our subject floors:

  • Floor 3 – Shelf Marks between 900 and 999
  • Floor 4 – Shelf Marks between 700 and 899
  • Floor 5 – Shelf Marks between 400 and 699
  • Floor 6 – Shelf Marks between 300 and 399
  • Floor 7 – Shelf Marks between 000 and 299

In addition to the main borrowable collections each floor contains Reference collections and Folio Collections. Reference books are located at the start of each floor’s sequence and Folios, or oversized books, are shelved separately at the end of the sequence on each floor. Between the Reference and Folio Collections are the main books available for borrowing. Some floors also contain other materials available for borrowing. See below for further details of each floors’ items and the sequence in which they are arranged:

Floor 3                                                                                                                               Reference Items: Ref 900 – Ref 999                                                                                       Main Collection: 900 – 999                                                                                                         Folios: f900 – f999

Floor 4                                                                                                                                     Reference Items: Ref 700 – Ref 899                                                                                   CD-ROMs
Main collection: 700 – 779
Collections of Scores
Miniatures Scores
Full Scores
Vocal Scores
Music Scores                                                                                                                     Main Collection: 780 – 899
Folios: f700 – f899

Floor 5                                                                                                                                   Reference items: Ref 400 – Ref 699
Sc Collection*: Shelf Marks Sc 001 – Sc 999
Main Collection: Shelf marks 400-699
Folios – Sc Collection: f Sc 001- f Sc 999
Folios – Main Collection: f400 – f699

* The Sc Collection is the History and Philosophy of Science Collection

Floor 6                                                                                                                                 Reference Items: Ref 300 – Ref 399                                                                                       Main Collection: 300 – 399                                                                                                     Folios: f300 – f399                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   The Teaching Resource Collection (TRC) is also on Floor 6 and is shelved in a separate room in the south-east corner of the floor.

Floor 7                                                                                                                                 Reference items: Ref 001 – Ref 299
Main collection: 001-299)
Folios: f001 – f299

To help you get your bearings on our subject floors keep in mind that the sequence on each floor starts with the first set of shelves (or bays) on the far left as you exit the lifts. This is the side of the library nearest to the sea. This first bay will contain the Reference items for that particular floor, and the main borrowable collection will follow directly after. The bays will continue in sequence, row by row towards the opposite side of the floor. This is repeated for each set of bays as they cross the floor, to the side furthest from the sea. See the image below for the general idea of the direction in which books are shelved in The Sir Duncan Rice Library. Each floor is slightly different but the same principle applies on each of the floors.

General floor layout in The Sir Duncan Rice Library

General floor layout in The Sir Duncan Rice Library

The shelf marks for each bay are indicated with a notice on the end of each of them i.e 650.01 Cow – 658.049 Tro. All shelf marks between these numbers will be found in that bay. The sequence starts on the top-left-hand shelf and the numbers will read from left to right across each shelf and down onto the next. They then move to the next set of shelves and continue in this way until you reach the end of that bay.

Hopefully the information above will make things clearer for you as you look for books in The Sir Duncan Rice Library, and remember that if you are ever having difficulty locating any books on our shelves our staff are here to help you. Happy searching but also don’t forget that being lost in the shelves can often lead to you discovering a wonderful book you didn’t even know you wanted to read: serendipity can be a wonderful thing.

Further details on where books are shelved can be found in this Library Guide:

 

Vivien Logan (v.logan@abdn.ac.uk) and Eleni Papadakou (e.papadakou@abdn.ac.uk)